ExpressVPN and NordVPN are considered to be the top two VPN services in the world. We will talk about the advantages and the disadvantages of both of these services and explain why we chose the better one.
As we mentioned before, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the best two VPN providers and it is really difficult to compare them and choose the better one. Nevertheless, we will try to describe their features and their performance so that we can recommend the right one.
Thinking between ExpressVPN and NordVPN?
If you can’t decide which one is the right one for you NordVPN or ExpressVPN we would suggest ExpressVPN if you are willing to invest a little bit more in a leading player in the VPN field that guarantees your satisfaction. Compared to NordVPN, the price tag per month is higher, but also more efficient, and on top, it ensures the best security while working impeccably with a large scope of streaming services.
NordVPN seems to be the cheaper choice of the two because it offers a big discount. It also has high-level security features. It complies with many streaming services and it is one of the fastest VPN providers.
By making an accurate market research analysis and comparing ExpressVPN vs NordVPN we can conclude the following:
Briefly: NordVPN vs ExpressVPN
- The highest speed
- Located in BVI
- Unblocks Netflix Hulu, BBC iPlayer and similar
- Applications for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Amazon, and Linux
- Custom-made router firmware
- Split tunneling
- expressvpn.com – the official website
- Above moderate speed
- 6 simultaneous connections
- Located in Panama
- Unblocks many streaming services
- Applications for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android
- Wifi automatically protected
- nordvpn.com – the official website
Cost and special offers
A 30-day money-back guarantee is given by both providers. We decided to check the validity of this item from the contract so it was put on trial. As it turned out, the contract was valid as agreed and not even a clarification was needed to be given on why you give up on their services.
ExpressVPN offers 3 months free of charge if you make an annual subscription, and it is a really good 12-month plan deal. On the other hand, NordVPN gives big discounts for longer periods of time, of $2.99 monthly, if you are ready to make a 2-year plan.
EXPRESSVPN BEST OFFER: BUY A 1-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION, GET 3 MONTHS EXTRA
NORDVPN: BUY A THREE YEAR PLAN, GET A DISCOUNT OF 75%
The command-line utility is not offered by many providers. However, both ExpressVPN and Nord VPN offer easy installation for devices with Linux and native applications for devices with Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon.
When it comes to some routers, ExpressVPN is more reliable than NordVPN. It works better due to the easily operated, customized firmware. On the other hand, both of them provide a manual setup for routers running compatible firmware. ExpressVPN and NordVPN also supply users with tutorials about the installation process of VPN on routers.
The number of allowed simultaneous connections of NordVPN is twice as big as the number of ExpressVPN. However, both providers count one installed VPN connection as a single connection.
CyberSec is a NordVPN anti-malware and ad blocker system which can be initiated in the application.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN television services
In geographical areas where the streaming sites are limited, ExpressVPN and NordVPN have proved to be the top two providers unblocking these features. Actually, there are lots of features that these VPNs have in order to provide access to TV services from abroad.
One of the features of ExpressVPN is that it can unblock Netflix better than NordVPN. But if your ExpressVPN server in your area cannot unblock a certain streaming site, you should call customer support and change the server if needed.
All tested servers work well with NordVPN and can unblock Netflix library. But, if any of these libraries in connection to the server location stay blocked, NordVPN will connect you directly to Netflix library in the US.
Both VPNs combined with a Kodi box can help avoid the TV restrictions in the region. However, none of these VPNs, ExpressVPN or NordVPN, uses Kodi box applications. The scope of protocol options from both providers offers a lot of options if OpenVPN isn’t supported by a Kodi box.
Your location can be easily managed by using Kodi on your computer and ExpressVPN or NordVPN application installed before.
ExpressVPN and NordVPN work quite well in China. Although the Chinese authorities blocked the ExpressVPN website, Chinese users are offered another alternative address.
It is not easy to give ExpressVPN services to Chinese citizens. Despite there are some interruptions and blackouts in PRC, ExpressVPN is still the best VPN on the Chinese market. NordVPN doesn’t lack behind a lot.
Interface and setup
ExpressVPN is a very mobile-friendly and practical application even for PCs and MAC.
NordVPN displays a world map on the main screen with pins of the countries where it can be found. The version for the mobile devices shows the same map without losing any of its properties.
It seems that the layout of the NordVPN is more appealing, but not as well designed as the ExpressVPN layout. A pull-down menu is also given as an option to choose the server location together with the specific locations (not only the countries).
NordVPN offers a list view as well. The list view offers more details than the world map. There are other alternatives for connection like DDoS protection, through VPN to Tor network and double-hop route.
Extra operating settings and security features are offered by both VPN apps.
Putting these settings on a different page seems to be a good idea because the main screen is left clear and accessible.
If we compare both of them we can see NordVPN is more user-friendly, whereas ExpressVPN is professional and useful.
When you go through the setup process, ExpressVPN shows a small disturbing security feature while signing into the account. You receive an activation code which has to be used if you want the application to start working.
Both VPN providers offer a wifi router, in association with the router merchants, which can be bought through their websites. By purchasing these routers, combo packages are also offered and you can automatically sign up for a VPN service too.
Performance and VPN Servers
ExpressVPN servers can be found in more states around the world, whereas NordVPN servers can be found in a bigger number.
When it comes to server features, both providers have differences. ExpressVPN doesn’t have the feature that NordVPN has, that is the VPN chaining, multi-hop or double VPN. A certain number of server options route the traffic going via two servers by making two encryptions. With this security feature, one feels safer, but the connection slows down. NordVPN can also connect through the Tor network servers and offers a safe routing too.
According to the speed test, NordVPN and ExpressVPN are very fast providers with fast speeds, with NordVPN having a bit of an advantage.
Because they belong to the fastest five providers, they can stream live or video in HD with no problem at all.
Many VPN protocols are offered by both – ExpressVPN and NordVPN providers. OpenVPN is one of the best security protocols although the encryption process can be slower compared to some lighter protocols. According to the reports about NordVPN, it turns out that ExpressVPN is a bit safer though.
When playing online games, people need some extra speed, so they should be careful with the choices and the combinations they make. Be careful, L2TP goes with ExressVPN and IKEv2 goes with NordVPN (especially with mobiles)
ExpressVPN gives a choice between PPTP, which is older and not very secure, and SSTP which is safer than PPTP.
Protocols work well with these VPN providers, but NordVPN has a small lead because of the IKEv2 protocol used with portable devices.
ExpressVPN offers a better standard of encryption than NordVPN and both of them have a key of aes 256-bit encryption.
ExpressVPN has better security of the control channel. The cypher is good for the creations of sessions and for the delivery of the AES encryption. Although both providers employ RSA channel encryption, ExpressVPN’s key is longer (4,096 bits) than the NordVPN’s key (2,048).
If located in China the security becomes really important. It is said that the Chinese professionals are very successful in breaking the 1,024-bit RSA key and very soon will do the same with the 2,048-bit key. In a scenario like this, NordVPN can lose its safety in China. Nevertheless, ExpressVPN has worked on this problem before and ensured the safety of the channel encryption.
The package content is usually combined in order to stop producing patterns when transmission occurs by both providers.
DNS calls are not coded (encrypted). In case the VPN provider allows your device to use the DNS provided by your default ISP, then various authorities, individual hackers or ISP can easily cross the line and follow your moves and website visits. Luckily, ExpressVPN and NordVPN can make DNS references go trough encrypted tunnels and stop them see your website activities.
Security options are implemented in the applications by both providers in order to stop the IP address be seen. Applications can be set up to start with the start of the operating system and work all the time. You can turn on the kill switch and stop the applications connect the web without the VPN.
NordVPN’s kill switch is broad, but you can also make a selection of per-app kill switch. This kill switch is not offered by ExpressVPN, but it provides split tunnelling. With this feature, you can choose certain applications to avoid the VPN, while the others still stay safe.
Unfortunately, NordVPN’s isolated data were violated soon after this article was published, and it seems that this left a spot on their security policy.
Neither ExpressVPN nor NordVPN is situated in any of the “Five Eyes” countries, thus neither of them has to reveal information or work with their authorities.
ExpressVPN’s location is in the British Virgin Islands which has no retention laws. On the other hand, NordVPN’s is based in Panama and it is not that safe. There are some copyright laws and forced the provider to work together with the US courts many times. However, NordVPN’s servers are not in the country and thus it opposes the demands of the authorities to reveal information.
NordVPN’s privacy is better managed than the ExpressVPN because it has no logs or logging policy whatsoever.
VPN’s providers deny keeping logs, but if you go deeper you realise they have no activity logs. That means they don’t keep the user’s actions like website visits and download info, but if you go back from the destination to the beginning by connection tracing, authorities can find you easily. This track can be broken, but the connection logs reveal the user because of the VPN.
NordVPN denies keeping these connection logs, however, ExpressVPN says they keep non-identifying ones. What do they keep? Account ID, connecting date, locations, and the information which were transferred. Keeping no IP address makes tracking unlikely.
So can anyone open an anonymous account? Well, by using your credit card or an email account tracing becomes easy.
Cryptocurrency is allowed to use by both ExpressVPN and NordVPN and it means you don’t have to use your bank account. ExoressVPN allows you to use a pre-paid Mint card (as one of the payment options) as well with no need to identify yourself. However, you still have to provide an email, which may be a burner email, for both of the services. This way you can protect your identity and your activities.
This privacy provided by both ExpressVPN and NordVPN is amazing especially for people using torrent downloading. The copyright violation is illegal and the protection of the identity is crucial. ExpressVPN and NordVPN are friendly when it comes to people using torrents and one should not hesitate and get in touch with the customer support having enquiries about torrent optimization.
How to Setup
IP addresses can be concealed by the VPNs. The method, ExpresVPN and NordVPN use are shared address and it means that all the outgoing traffic of the users connected simultaneously is disguised by the IP address of the VPN. So if tracking is initiated from the visited website backwards, one would get only to the VPN server without being able to pint the right VPN user.
The systems of shared IP addresses are managed by the so-called “port address mapping”. VPN’s offer NAT firewall, but this is PAT. This address system stops IP address being identified and a firewall is automatically created. Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide NAT protection.
Sometimes a private IP address needs to be used especially if you need to receive incoming connections. In this case, NAT cannot refer to the connections, so a private or static IP address should be used in order to set up a server for a personal website, a game or a storage cloud.
ExpressVPN does not offer static IP address, but NordVPN does for a certain fee. Your IP address can be British, American, Dutch or German no matter of your physical location.
Many VPNs offer some DDoS protection. Why? if anyone wants to attack you or your IP address they are actually attacking the IP address of the VPN server because nobody really sees your IP address when using internet through VPN. So an attack against you is an attack against the VPN server. All VPNs servers ar stronger than any PC and can easily cope with attacks. NordVPN provides DDoS protection, but ExpressVPN doesn’t.
Customer service based on user reviews
Express VPN and NordVPN have excellent customer support. Both of them offer live chat help by professional staff. ExpressVPN have proved to have a quicker response if visited regularly.
Email response was also put to test. Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN answer promptly on simple questions related to streaming issues. But when a simple question related to DNS leaks and DNS leak protection was asked to ExpressVPN, the response seemed to be broad with no actual answer. Later on, in the follow-up conversation, the question was answered properly. The average time ExpressVPN needed to answer the question was 1 hour and 45 minutes, whereas the average NordVPN time was 3 hours and 24 minutes.
Below you can see the summary of three questions asked to each of the providers.
First ExpressVPN’s results:
The first question was about if ExpressVPN could unblock Netflix. We got only one email back with a positive answer in 1hour and 24 minutes. The response to the question, if there was protection against DNS leaks, was positive, but they needed two emails to answer it and time of 2 hours and 29 minutes. The third question was about paying with bitcoins and if we would be billed automatically at the end of the cycle. The answer was positive and they needed 1 email and 1 hour and 8 minutes to answer it.
Now NordVPN’s results:
The same questions were given to NordVPN customer support. All three questions got positive answers in only 1 email each. The answer to the first question about unblocking Netflix took 1 hour and 24 minutes to be answered. The second question, if there was protection against DNS leaks, was answered in 3 hours and 49 minutes, and the third question about the bitcoins and if we would be billed automatically at the end of the cycle took 4 hours and 59 minutes to be answered.
Not all VPNs answer all the questions if any. But, both of these VPN services sent an answer back to all the questions. Looking back at the time they needed to answer the questions it seems it is too long, but actually, they give some of the fastest answers among the all the VPNs.
These VPN services show high performance. The number of server locations provided by ExpressVPN gives this service advantage over NordVPN unless the countries where you want to be registered are not on the NordVPN list.
If you need static IP address and DDoS protection you better choose NordVPN, because these services are not available with ExpressVPN.
When it comes to security, ExpressVPN leads ahead because of the better control of channel encryption. However, privacy matters are better handled with NordVPN because they have no logs policy.
In authoritarian regimes like China, Iran or Saudi Arabia, both ExpressVPN and NordVPN provide excellent protection. Still, NordVPN seems to be faster and more available.
Video streaming works better with ExpressVPN. NordVPN can unblock Netflix faster, which makes it one of the best VPN services in the world. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide access to libraries like ExpressVPN does.
Applications from NordVPN are a bit easier to apply. However, ExpressVPN has a custom made firmware for and easy router setup.
Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer 30-day money-back guarantees. If you don’t like any of the two VPN services after testing them, you freely ask for a refund.